CounterPoint: Should students be required to wear their IDs?

August Zeidman, Features Editor

This month, Schreiber implemented a policy mandating that students wear their student IDs around their necks on lanyards at all times.  This is justified by the fact that lanyards allow faculty to easily identify who belongs on campus and who does not.  It is obvious at this point that any attempt to enforce this has been a failure.  The sight of assistant principals standing in the lobby every morning, asking people where their lanyards are, have dissipated.  Walking down the hall during the day, it is clear that students have not been enthusiastic about compliance with the new rule, and many people have already started to stick their ID cards into pockets or backpacks instead of wearing them on their person.

All of this is exactly as it should be.  Just like the enforcement of students wearing clear backpacks which received such backlash in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, this policy does nothing in reality.  The effectiveness is even further reduced by the fact that there are no repercussions for noncompliance.  The lanyard policy is one that only works when 100% of students comply and 100% of students never forget to bring their cards and never take them off.  If even a smaller portion of students were noncompliant with the policy, it would already be useless at that point. 

“I often forget to wear my lanyard throughout the day and barely even carry my school ID around.  Honestly, they are also uncomfortable and itchy on my neck,” said junior Nick Kapoor.

Rather than spending money on lanyards and creating a policy that is resented by students, there are many additional ways in which the school could make meaningful changes in the security field without infringing on the freedoms of movement and of expression.  One such change could be strengthening the security at the front entrance, by issuing passes for students and parents to enter the Schreiber parking lot, while other visitors would need to acquire special permission beforehand or park off school grounds.  Additionally, by better manning hall duty posts around the school, a better eye could be kept on the halls and any suspicious activity could be better noted.

All of this would increase the security in Schreiber to a much greater extent than a silly policy that nobody wants to follow, and also for minimal theoretical cost.  These past few months, students across the nation have been finding their voices and awakening the collective consciousnesses among young people.  From the March for Our Lives to the continuing organization efforts among students, their voices have grown into a powerful one and more and more resistance has been put up towards infringement on their rights.

Yes, other districts enforce wearing IDs or similar measures.  Yes, it is not a major inconvenience to students.  Nevertheless, this policy opens a door to further measures which restrict the freedoms of students at Schreiber.  School is an inherently authoritarian institution, but that does not mean that we—as students, as subjects, as inferiors—have to accept further erosion of our individuality and our rights.  

“Although I believe that the lanyard policy is a fairly common-sense way to make the school a bit safer by maintaining the basic liberties that students already have, I fundamentally disapprove of the decision making process— that is, I don’t approve of the hierarchy in which school administrators just dictate this sort of policy.  This is something that needs to be done with student consent and student input,” said junior Lucas Romanski.

It is time for students to come together in rejection of policies that solidify our inferior position within the institutional order.  The best developmental environments treat all as equals.  In its mission statement, Schreiber’s administration preaches equality, yet measures such as this new lanyard policy show that their money does not necessarily lie where their mouth is.